How to Reclaim Your Beautiful Authentic Confident Self
The Oxford dictionary definition of confidence is, ‘the feeling or belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something’. The example they give is, ‘we had every confidence in the staff’.
According to the Cambridge dictionary, confidence is ‘a feeling of having little doubt about yourself and your abilities, or a feeling of trust in someone or something’.
I start most of my episodes of the ‘Building Confidence’ podcast with the question ‘What is confidence?’, and my guests come up with various definitions. Liz felt it was ‘having the courage to be yourself in that moment’. Moni described self-confidence as ‘a mix of self-belief and self-love and trust that you will figure it out’. To Cate it is ‘ feeling worthy, feeling that you are good enough and not worrying about what other people think’. If I pull out the keywords and phrases in these definitions they are, belief, faith, trust, courage, being yourself, self-love, feeling you are good enough, and not worrying about what people think. Putting these together, I have come up with the definition, ‘confidence is believing in your ability to be yourself, trusting that you are good enough and not needing external validation’. This is very similar to the definition I have been using, which is, ‘having the ability to carry out a task or know that, you've got the ability to learn how to carry out that task’.
So, let’s break it down a little. Firstly, to be confident according to the amalgamated definition, we need to believe in our ability to be ourselves. Being our true selves means being authentic, showing up as the real ‘me’. That’s the me with the imperfections, the one who does not always get it right, does not always know the answer, and feels scared but shows up anyway. But, showing our true selves to the world is scary, right? We risk rejection, judgment maybe even humiliation. At least those are the thoughts going on in our heads. We focus on what might go wrong if we were to take off the mask that we tend to hide behind. There is the ‘perfect’ me that I want to show to the world and then there is the real me that is not perfect. Not perfect because no one is. No one is perfect and so we put on different masks of how we want the world to see us. But then when we do that, we are not giving the world the chance to know the real ‘me’, the real ‘us’. We are unique, but even the most beautiful and successful people are not perfect, no matter how it might seem on the surface. The truth is, we will never reach ‘perfect’ because as soon as we think we might have achieved it, we’ll see another version of it in the distance. The beauty is, we can keep growing and improving with every step.
To build strong self-confidence we need to take off the mask, let it slip, and stand up as our beautiful, perfectly imperfect selves with our hearts wide open. Yes, this does mean you could get hurt but it also means that you are letting yourself be loved too, as the person you truly are. The more vulnerability we are able to show, the more confident we become. The wonderful Brene Brown, a PhD and research professor at the University of Houston is an expert on vulnerability. During her research, she found that people who feel a strong sense of connection and belonging are the ones who feel they deserve it. Those people have greater self-love, are grateful for who they are and what they have in their lives, and they can show love without expectation. Crucially, they aren’t afraid to ask for help when needed.
Going back to the definition of confidence, the second part is trusting that you are good enough. In my coaching practice, I come across clients who feel they are not good enough time after time. Having spoken with other life coaches, this does seem to be a huge issue. Why should this be? The answer is often very complex and involves a lifetime of trying to live up to someone elses standards and perception of how life should be. These influences can come from our parents, teachers, mentors, religion, and society in general. Also, research has shown that up to the age of 6 or 7, children are unable to analyse or ‘fact-check’ things they are told. Therefore, young children take everything they are told as true. Hence, they believe in Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, and sadly that they are not good enough if that is what they are told.
Fortunately, research is also showing that anything we believe to be true can be changed. Our whole way of thinking can be changed. Instead of having endless negative chatter in our heads, we can learn to replace it with positive chatter and affirmations. We can believe that we are good enough. By the way, good enough for what? What bar are we trying to reach when we say that?
Good enough for who? The phrase doesn’t even mean anything and yet so many of us, live our life by it.
Finally, the last part is not needing external validation. Why do we feel so good when we get lots of likes on a social media post? When people we may not even know, like our posts. Why do we need someone to tell us that we are ok? There is a lot of pressure in modern society to ‘be the best’, ‘ to be a success in life’, to earn lots of money. Even as a life coach, I am constantly being messaged to ask me if I want to earn thousands of pounds a week/day/hour and if I am not going after ‘high ticket’ sales then I am not a great coach. Well, I am a great coach, and my mission is to guide women to reclaim their confidence, not to necessarily be the wealthiest life coach in the business. That is not why I do this.
When we have great confidence, we do not need validation from anyone outside ourselves. If we can believe that we are good enough, just as we are, then we have fully reclaimed our confidence.
I believe that everyone has confidence, it is inside us, always waiting to shine out, but we bury it under all of our insecurities and limiting beliefs. Sweep these out of the way by peeling back the layers and tackling one limiting belief at a time, and we find our confidence. It’s right where we left it.
When we lack confidence and believe there is something wrong with us, we start to slowly give up. We carry on with a relationship that isn’t working because we fear being left alone, we carry on working a job we hate because we fear not being able to find a better job (for a variety of reasons, without even trying to find one). We start to overeat, comfort eat, and not exercise and this behaviour can then lead to health issues, making us more miserable and feeling even more that we are not good enough and lacking in some way. Can you see this rollercoaster? It does not have to be like this. By building your confidence and becoming your true authentic self, you can start to become the person you are supposed to be, living the life you are supposed to be living. You will then love, believe in and value yourself and with that inner strength, you can take on anything life throws at you.
If you want to make changes in your life, from losing weight to changing your career to becoming whole again, then contact me for a coffee chat, and let’s see what great things we can achieve together.
#confidence #shy #authenticyou #changeyourlife